Tracking retail customer movements using their cell phones – a prerogative or intrusive ?

An article in the New York Times (July 14, 2013) describes an experiment at Nordstrom, after informaring customers, that tracked customers “using the wi-fi signals from their smartphones”. But the cell phones unique signature also permits tracking customer repeat trips, time spent in the store, items purchased etc. But online stores have always stored customer clicks, browsing time, purchased vs considered goods etc. Is the customer tracking in a physical store similar to online tracking of customer choices and therefore a retailer prerogative ? Should the customer be alerted whenever she is being tracked, with approval sought and an incentive provided, for continued tracking ? Should stores send coupons to customers based on their observed shopping interests to increase their reason to shop ? Are there privacy issues that are relevant or is the store a domain that should be permitted to be under retailer control ?

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About aviyer2010

Professor
This entry was posted in Ecommerce, Operations Management, Service Operations, Supply Chain Issues and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Tracking retail customer movements using their cell phones – a prerogative or intrusive ?

  1. Zimi Surana says:

    Privacy of an individual is a hot button in today’s scenario. The usage of cell phone of the customer to track the customer may be viewed from two glasses. With increasing customer demand on personalised experience, it is imperative to use customer information. This is analogous to using the browsing history to effectively market what the customer is already looking for. On the other hand, usage of cell phone to track the physical movement of the customer is intrusive as the customer behaviour can be monitored in the retail arena and not beyond that. I believe this has both pros and cons and only the organisation that uses customer information judiciously and for the benefit of the customer without infringing the boundary of privacy will thrive and flourish in the retail industry.

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